Translation Theory and Practice: Modern Japanese Literature
This course explores both the process of translation and the nature of Japanese literature. As well as translating excerpts from Nagai Kafū’s Furansu monogatari (1909), a text currently unavailable in English, students will also have the opportunity to compare the text and writing style to other works of Meiji literature. Students will discuss major issues involved in translating a literary text from Japanese to English, including the effect of synonym choice, literal versus loose translation, poetic license and the tense-aspect controversy. Students will also gain an appreciation for writing style in terms of sentence construction, kanji use, poetic language and the effect of literary quotation. Students will improve and polish their translation skills to a high degree, and will be encouraged to find their own method of translation, balancing creative expression with accuracy and fidelity to the original text. Throughout the course we will read and discuss translation theory, using the popular translation memoir Found in Translation by Nataly Kelly and Jost Zetzsche as well as articles by Rebecca Copeland and others.